This order requires hospitals to postpone all non-medically necessary surgeries and procedures. Abbott may also add or remove counties from the order as surges in COVID-19 cases arise.
“These four counties have experienced significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19,” Abbott said. “And today’s action is a precautionary step to help ensure that the hospitals in these counties continue to have ample supply of available beds to treat COVID-19 patients.”
This order comes just three days after Abbott said Texas hospitals had "abundant" capacity during a June 22 press conference.
In a June 24 press conference, Dr. David Persse, the health authority for the Houston Health Department, said hospitals rely on elective surgeries to remain open because there is no “financial incentive” for caring for patients with infections such as viral pneumonia.
“Right now, someone needs to look at those decisions and, in my opinion, change those decisions so that hospitals are going to at least break even taking care of the viral pneumonia patients,” Persse said. “It’s not about elective surgeries; it’s about health care finance.”